St John seeking critical top-up

ALEXIA JOHNSTON
Last updated 05:00 08/04/2014
st john darryn grigsby
MYTCHALL BRANSGROVE/Fairfax NZ
RAISING AWARENESS: Darryn Grigsby does the figures ahead of St John's annual appeal week.

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St John is launching its annual appeal this week in the hope of bridging the gap between government funding and operational costs.

The Government pays 80 per cent of St John's operational costs. It relies on donations to cover the shortfall, South Canterbury territory manager Darryn Grigsby said.

"In the South Island we need to raise over $10 million to cover the shortfall between government funding and the cost of running the emergency ambulance service," he said.

Every year the appeal is just as important as the last.

"The message is, every year we have a gap ..."

Timaru has two ambulances on call 24 hours a day. A new ambulance costs $165,000. A further $50,000 is needed to outfit each vehicle with items including defibrillators, oxygen and medication.

The organisation replaces 12 ambulances in the South Island a year, at a cost of $2.6m.

St John New Zealand chief executive Peter Bradley, who is also a former paramedic, highlighted the need for donations.

"We deal with a huge range of incidents, from motor vehicle accidents and serious accidents at the workplace, through to cardiac arrests and people being injured in their homes. Everything we do in St John is for the patient, and everything we do supports our patients in some way."

This year St John aims to raise $2m from its appeal week, which started yesterday and finishes on Sunday.

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- The Timaru Herald

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